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Nau Mai Haere mai. Welcome to Mairtown Kindergarten's blog.

21 Princes Street, Kensington, Whangarei, New Zealand

Phone: 09 437 2742

Email: mairtown@nka.org.nz

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Thursday, 20 June 2013

Hanging Bars

On Thursday 13th of June, a local shipwright; Mike Lyon arrived at Kindergarten to install our much anticipated ‘hanging bars’.
These bars were envisioned by the teaching team after we had noticed and observed the frequent gross motor play taking place in our bark area. Our goal was to create a more permanent climbing structure without harming our beautiful trees.

This is where making connections with community and bringing in experts provides on-going benefits to our children’s education. Mike’s training as a shipwright includes knowledge and expertise with rope, and more importantly knots.

Using Tea Tree sourced from Donna’s bush, Mike expertly lashed rungs onto poles which span the distance between our two biggest trees.
The new hanging bars have five rungs and have immediately provided a new area for the children to be physically challenged, take sensible risks and engage in hours of imaginative fun.


On her Moving Smart blog site, child development expert Gill Connell, explains some of the benefits of ‘Hanging’ or ‘Monkey bars’:

Climbing, hanging, swinging, and any other high-energy activities that build strength in the upper body and core muscles are vital precursors to fine motor skills.
Twisting, turning, dangling, and swinging helps develop the flexibility and agility necessary for rotating the shoulders, elbows, wrists, and fingers.

Pushing, pulling, tugging, and lifting yourself up builds strength while developing an intuitive understanding of simple physics such as weight, pressure, and resistance.
As well as encouraging and enabling children to develop many gross motor and movement skills, the Hanging or Monkey bars also support our thinking about the benefits of children engaging in managed risk-taking.

Our planning for the hanging bars included positioning them ‘out of reach’ for the children. This means that it is difficult for our youngest children to touch them, for other children the V of the tree provides a stepping stone to reach up and grasp the first rung before moving across. For our most agile and competent climbers, the hanging bars offer a physical challenge to be mastered.

Children need the freedom to take risks in play because it allows them to continually test the limits of their physical, intellectual and emotional development (Tranter, 2005).

Risk taking is a vital component of quality outdoor play. Managed risk-taking opportunities introduce challenge and excitement for children to test their skills and try new activities. They gain mastery and a sense of accomplishment, thus further encouraging them to face new challenges. Furthermore, risk taking has been found to be positively related to self-confidence and creative ability (Goodyear-Smith & Laidlaw, 1999).

The skills and attributes of managed risk-taking are reflected in the Te Ao Māori leadership responsibility; Te kawe takohanga – which focuses on taking responsibility – it is about courage, risk-taking, having a go and trying new things.

Our goal as teachers is to provide our children with opportunities and challenges which benefit all levels of interest, ability and competence. The hanging bars are an area which children can ‘grow in to’. We look forward to observing and celebrating the new learning and play which will unfold in this wonderful enriched area.
He orange ngākau, he pikinga wairoa
Positive feelings in your heart will enhance your sense of self-worth
The children give Mike high 5's for great work!

If you would like to contact Mike Lyon call 0272048122, The Woodshed, Riverside Drive, Whangarei

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